Scope and arrangement
The Hugh Gaine receipt book, dated 1767 to 1799, contains entries written and signed by recipients of money from Hugh Gaine for expenses relating to his printing and bookselling business, his real estate holdings and, to a lesser extent, his personal and family life.
Brief entries from 1767 November 16 to 1799 November 12 identify the services, goods, and settlement of accounts for which payment was received. There are no entries between 1776 June 16 and 1777 February 8, during which time Gaine left the City for Newark and returned. On 1772 May 4 and 1784 April 24, Hugh Gaine signed his name to acknowledge settlement of accounts.
Hugh Gaine's business activities are shown in freight charges for shipments from England, some handled by John Harris Cruger, and dealings with members of notable New York families, such as the Bleecker, Verplanck, Duyckinck, Van Dam, Ten Eyck, Colden and Lenox families. Transactions with those notably connected with the printing or publishing trades include Mathew Carey (on his own account and for others in Philadelphia), James Parker's widow Mary Parker, William Young, Peter R. Maverick, Ebenezer Larkin for Isaiah Thomas, and Jedidiah Morse. The name of British cartographer Bernard Ratzer also appears in the volume. There are payments for merchandise purchased by or consigned to Gaine, such as beaver hats, instruments and, in 1776, drums and fifes from the father of John Falkenhan.
There are numerous entries for the purchase, freight or sale of paper signed by various parties, and dealings with Hendrick and Andrew Onderdonk and Henry Remsen regarding the paper mill on Long Island. Services for labor are represented in payments for salaried staff, newspaper carriers and domestic workers, and in payments for the labor of African-Americans, presumably to slave owners. There are many payments for masonry and other services relating to his properties, especially during the postwar period.
The receipt book also documents the ownership or rental of various properties in Manhattan, the purchase of land in upstate New York, and other investments. Notably, rental charges paid by Gaine for a playhouse and adjoining land on John Street (the John Street Theatre) are listed from 1768 through the early 1790s.
Personal items include occasional payments by Gaine for pew rentals and donations to St. Paul’s Chapel and Trinity Church, a subscription to the New York Society Library, his personal grooming (shaving and the purchase of wigs), and expenses such as tutoring, board and medical care for his son John.